Auburn Takes Down Southern Miss

Auburn jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the first five minutes and never let up as the Tigers defeated the Golden Eagles 92-46.

Auburn, Ala. -- Marquis Daniels led the Auburn Tigers with 21 points and eight rebounds as the Tigers easily defeated Southern Miss.

Daniels scored his points in 25 minutes of action and he contributed eight rebounds and five assists while hitting 8-11 field goals for the hot-shooting Tigers. Auburn made 64.9 percent of its field goals while holding the Golden Eagles to just 29.8 percent.

Marco Killingsworth pitched in with 14 points, while Derrick Bird scored 16. Defensively, the Tigers held USM's leading scorer, Charles Gaines, to just two points on two free throw attempts.

Auburn jumped out to an early 10-4 lead in the first five minutes and never let up with Bird earning five of the ten points and Daniels getting four. Auburn opened up the lead to 17-8 at the 12-minute mark, thanks to a three-pointer by Kyle Davis. Southern Miss' Mario Myles scored two consecutive threes to bring the score within three. The Golden Eagles wouldn't get any closer to overtaking the Tigers for the rest of the game, as Auburn went on a 12-2 streak to open its lead up to 29-16 with 6:20 left in the half.

Davis had the best defensive play of the night, blocking a three-point attempt directly into the hands of Bird, who scored on the play to make the score 31-18 with just over four minutes left to play in the half. The Tigers increased their lead to 39-25 by the end of the half.

Auburn didn't let up in the opening minutes of the second half, increasing its lead to 53-28 with 15:33 left in the game. The Golden Eagles' six team fouls during the first five minutes of the half severely hampered their comeback attempt. Chris Lollar and Nathan Watson both hit three-pointers to put Auburn up 59-28 with just over 13 minutes left.

Three-pointers by Danny Wicke and Troy Gaines improved Auburn's lead to 86-41 with just under three minutes left to play. Auburn head coach Cliff Ellis emptied the bench as Auburn cruised to a 92-46 victory.

"Our team took it to them," Ellis said after the game. "I think the thing we were able to do is limit their shots."

Auburn handled the ball well in the first half, with only four turnovers. "We kept the turnover count down," Ellis said. "That's the thing that really created problems for us up until the Puerto Rico trip. We were just turning it over too much."

For the game, the Tigers had a dozen turnovers and forced 17. They outrebounded USM 36-35 and had a solid edge in three-point shooting. The Tigers hit 9-16 threes while USM made 5-16.

Davis blocked eight shots for the Tigers off the bench as the Tigers continued to start their three-guard lineup with Watson in for Davis.

Auburn improved its record to 10-2 while USM dropped to 6-4. Greg Johnson, the former Auburn signee from Phenix City, led USM with 13 points but made just 5-17 field goals.

The Tigers return to action Thursday, facing North Texas at 7:00 p.m. in Beard-Eaves Memorial Coliseum. Auburn's SEC schedule begins Wednesday, January 8th, when the Tigers are hosts to Vanderbilt.

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